French government ministers

French government ministers

French government ministers are members of the Prime Minister's Government, or cabinet, although in French the term "cabinet" is rarely used to describe the "gouvernement", even in translation (as it is used in French to mean a minister's private office, composed of politically-appointed aides). In French, the word "gouvernement" can refer to government in general, but generally refers to the cabinet.

The Government is responsible to the Parliament of France. The National Assembly may pass a motion of censure forcing the resignation of the Council of Ministers. This, in practice, forces the "gouvernement" to be from the same political party as the majority in the Assembly, or to be allied to the majority in coalition. Ministers have to answer questions from members of Parliament, both written and oral; this is known as the "questions au gouvernement" (questions to the government). In addition, ministers attend meetings of the houses of Parliament when laws pertaining to their areas of responsibility are being discussed.

Government ministers cannot pass legislation without parliamentary approval, though the prime minister may promulgate regulations ("décrets" with a value of "réglement") within certain constraints. Ministers, however, can propose legislation to Parliament and such legislation is, in general, very likely to pass, although on occasion the opinion of the majority of members of Parliament may differ significantly from those of the executive which often results in a large number of amendments.

Traditionally, the Council of Ministers comprises members of three ranks:
*Ministers are the most senior members of the government
*Ministers-Delegate ("ministres délégués") assist ministers in particular areas of their portfolio
*Secretaries of State ("secrétaires d'État") assist ministers in less important areas, and attend meetings of the Council of Ministers only occasionally.
* Before the Fifth Republic, some ministers of particular political importance were called "Ministers of State" ("ministres d'État"); the practice has continued under the Fifth Republic in a purely honorific fashion: ministers styled "minister of State" are considered of a higher importance in the Council of Ministers.

The "gouvernement" has a leading role in shaping the agenda of the houses of Parliament. It may propose laws to Parliament, as well as amendments during parliamentary meetings. It may make use of some procedures to speed up parliamentary deliberations.

The Council of Ministers has weekly meetings (usually on Wednesday mornings), chaired by the President, at the Élysée Palace.

List of Government Ministers

Head of the "gouvernement": the Prime Minister of France.

The number and names of ministries and the splitting of responsibilities and administrations between them varies from government to government.

Current Ministerial positions (with their current titles):
* Minister for the Economy, Industry and Employment
* Minister of the Interior (combined with Minister of Worship - "Ministre des cultes")
** Minister of Territorial Development ("Aménagement du Territoire") - see Minister of the Interior
* Minister of Justice and "Keeper of the Seals"
* Minister of National Education, Advanced Instruction, and Research (formerly "Minister of Public Instruction")
* Minister of Defence
* Minister of Foreign Affairs
* Minister of Transportation (currently the title is "Minister of Transportation, Public Works, Tourism and the Sea")
** Minister of Public Works ("Travaux Publics" or "Equipement") - see Minister of Transportation
** Minister of the Sea - see Minister of Transportation
** Minister of Tourism - see Minister of Transportation
*Minister of Culture and Communications
*Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fishing and Rural Affairs
*Minister of Health and Solidarity
*Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development
*Minister of Employment, Social Cohesion and Housing (formerly "Minister of Social Affairs")
** Minister of Housing - see Minister of Employment
*Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
*Minister of Overseas France (formerly "Minister of Colonies")
*Minister of Small Businesses, Commerce, Craftsmanship and Self-Employed Professionals
*Minister of Civil Service (formerly, in Jean-Pierre Raffarin's gouvernement (2002), "Minister of Administration, State Reform and Local Development")

Ministerial positions which no longer exist:
* Minister of Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones
* Minister of Labour and Social Security Provisions - see "Minister of Employment"
* Minister of War - see "Minister of Defence"
* Minister of the Marine - formerly "Minister of Marine and Colonies"
* Minister of the Merchant Marine
* Minister of National Economy (e.g. under the Popular Front - merged with Minister of Finance)
* Minister of the Blockade ("Ministre du Blocus") - during World War I
* Minister of Air - merged into Minister of Defense
* Minister of Information - formerly Minister of Propaganda
* Minister of Pensions - merged into Minister of the Economy
* Minister of Commerce and Industry - merged into Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry
* Minister of Police (1796-1818, 1852-53) - merged into Minister of the Interior
*Post-War Ministerial positions:
** Minister of Reconstruction and Town Planning
** Minister of Veterans and War Victims

Secretaries of State and Ministers during the Ancien Régime
* Principal ministre de l'état - see Prime Minister of France
* Controller-General of Finances
* Chancellor of France
* Constable of France
* Secretary of State for War (France)
* Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (France)
* Secretary of State of the Maison du Roi - also oversaw Religious Affairs, the Buildings of the King, and administration of Paris and the provinces.
* Secretary of State of the Navy (France)
* Secretary of State for Protestant Affairs

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